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Published December 09, 2017 Updated August 07, 2023

Tarocchini Bolognesi by Carlo Zanardi

Tarocchini Bolognesi by Carlo Zanardi, c.1850

1850 Italy Carlo Zanardi Bolognese Tarot Tarocchino Add to Collection

Tarocchino Bolognesi by Carlo Zanardi, Bologna, c.1850. Tarocchino is an early localised ancestor of Tarot with only 62 cards, omitting numeral cards 2-5, leaving 24 pip cards, 16 court cards and 22 trumps in a somewhat different sequence to other tarots. Another distinction is that in c.1725 the four imperial and religious trump cards were changed from the traditional ones into four Moors. Soon after this the deck was made double-ended and numbered with Arabic numberals. And in this example, instead of the ace of coins there is an empty card with two tax stamps

Right: the back paper extends into turned over edges →

The double-ended back design, printed in blue, shows a young woman with the legend “Alla Follia” and the initials C and Z, from where we identify the maker of the deck.

Tarocchino Bolognesi by Carlo Zanardi, c.1850
Tarocchino Bolognesi by Carlo Zanardi, c.1850 Tarocchino Bolognesi by Carlo Zanardi, c.1850 Tarocchino Bolognesi by Carlo Zanardi, c.1850 Tarocchino Bolognesi by Carlo Zanardi, c.1850 Tarocchino Bolognesi by Carlo Zanardi, c.1850

Above: Tarocchino Bolognesi printed from woodblocks and setencil-coloured by Carlo Zanardi, c.1850. All images courtesy of Maria Alessandra Umiltà.

Most likely the Bologna tarocchi originated in the 16th century. However, Detlef Hoffmann (1973: 17) quotes a legend which dates the invention of the shortened tarot pack to 1419 by Francesco Fibbi, a prince of Pisa, during an exile in Bologna.


Deck by Carlo Zanardi, c.1850

Above: incomplete deck by Carlo Zanardi with similar stamps on the ace of coins, c.1850. The colour palette is also similar. Courtesy Alberto Pérez González.

REFERENCES and CREDITS

Hoffmann, Detlef: The Playing Card, an illustrated history, Edition Leipzig, 1973

Mann, Sylvia: All Cards on the Table, Jonas Verlag/Deutsches Spielkarten-Museum, Leinfelden-Echterdingen, 1990

Joep van Loon: The Tarot Wheel

Vietti Andrea: Tarot as tarocchi

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

Founder and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996. He is a former committee member of the IPCS and was graphics editor of The Playing-Card journal for many years. He has lived at various times in Chile, England and Wales and is currently living in Extremadura, Spain. Simon's first limited edition pack of playing cards was a replica of a seventeenth century traditional English pack, which he produced from woodblocks and stencils.


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